Loire Valley Property Blog: News and Information from the region

LOIRE VALLEY – “French elegance and style” …

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The lonely planet guide says, and I quote: “If it’s French splendour, style and gastronomy you seek, the Loire Valley will exceed your expectations, no matter how great.”

The Loire Valley is, without question, a region of large, elegant Châteaux, wonderful cuisine, beautiful wines and copious fresh produce. What is more it is within easy reach of all the ports of Northern France, motorways to all corners of France, the Brittany beaches and just a couple of hours drive into Paris.

This beautiful home in Richelieu is just one of a number of elegant Chateaux on the market at this time, it is set in a 12ha park with heated pool, stables and caretaker accommodation.

LOIRE VALLEY: The garden of France …

The Loire Valley, spanning 280 kilometres (170 mi), is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France and is referred to as the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards (such as cherries), and artichoke, and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river.

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Known notably for its historic towns, architecture, and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the middle stone-age period. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites. The Loire Valley is one of the biggest valleys in France.

LOIRE VALLEY – You too can enjoy a taste of the ‘Good Life’ ….

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The “Garden of France” held many attractions for us. Having lived and worked in other regions of France; Normandy, Poitou Charentes and latterly the Limousin. We wanted to be nearer the Channel Ports and also to be living in a more temperate climate.

The area to the north of Saumur, between the rivers Le Loir and La Loire, was well known to us from the many camping holidays we’d had both from the U.K. and whilst living over here. A region of vineyards, orchards and field vegetables and cereals. A very fertile land, good for gardeners.

The garden here at Les Gouas had been neglected for many years. The elderly lady from whom we bought hadn’t been able to farm it or keep it clear of brambles, thistles etc. There was a lot of work to be done on the house, but our priority was to get the garden going. Initially we cleared three areas: one for soft fruit, one for a poly-tunnel and one for a vegetable plot. A neighbouring farmer dropped us off a good load of farmyard manure and we were off! More »

Explore the history and romance that abounds throughout the Loire Valley …

 

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Anjou, Touraine, the Valley of the Kings, the Plantagenets and Joan of Arc; the Loire Valley abounds with history and romance. As it flows gently westward, La Loire passes many of the Châteaux and Abbeys that make the Valley a world-famous location.

Saumur is an ideal centre from which to explore the delights of the region. The grand Châteaux at Azay-le-Rideau, villandry, Usse, Amboise and even Chenonceaux are all within an hour’s easy driving. When you include Chinon, Abbaye de Fontevrault and Richelieu, you realise why so many visitors come back year after year. Andy why so many people have decided to buy holiday homes in the region. More »

LOIRE VALLEY – messing about on the river …

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Mole wasn’t wrong – there’s nothing like it on a summer’s day !

The Loire Valley of course takes its name from the majestic Loire river which meanders its way 600 miles from the Masssif Central to the Atlantic at St Nazaire. The central section of the Loire is dotted with castles and beautiful parks to visit, which earned it UNESCO World Heritage acclaim. However the Loire Valley also benefits from its tributaries, the Vienne, Indre and Cher ; much smaller rivers with less current and less traffic which make them ideal for family boating, fishing, canoeing, and paddling in the shallow bits !

The Loire à Vélo is a very well known cycling route which provides thousands of tourists every year with unforgettable holiday memories – unspoilt views, breathtaking châteaux and winding paths along the river banks. Boat rides in the traditional ‘Barques’ of the Loire are available every day in tourist season at Chinon, Candes St Martin, the confluence of the Loire and Vienne, and Montsoreau. The antiques markets or ‘brocantes’ run alongside the Loire at Montsoreau and the Vienne at Chinon every month. Or why not take to the air in a hot air balloon ride to really appreciate that bird’s eye view ?

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LOIRE VALLEY – Cycling the Loire Valley Route …

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A regular blog of life in the Loire Valley by Leggett Agent, Denise Long

THE LOIRE VALLEY ROUTE

The initiative to create this route sprung into life to link a series of bike routes, mainly dedicated to this ecological and healthy two wheel form of transport.

The Loire Valley Route is in total 800kms and runs from St Nazaire on the west coast of France to Cuffy in the Alliers department 03. This Loire route is part of ‘eurovelo 6’ (ev6) also known as ‘The Rivers Route’, and runs for a total of 3653 kms, from St Nazaire through to Constanta on the Black Sea. It travels along much of the Loire, some of Soâne, a little of the Rhine and almost all of the Danube. 800,000 people take to the Loire valley route each year! WOW!

EQUIPMENT AND LEVEL OF FITNESS – NO EXCUSE!

Bike – bring your own or rent at various outlets, website addresses at bottom. The aim of the cycle routes are to guarantee no vicious hills and if inevitable there is an alternative suggested (hopefully with a pub diversion!).

So we have talked about this for months, we can join the route about 50m from our house in Saint Radegonde in Tours. Gareth had prepared the equipment like we were about to ascent the north face of the Eiger. The bikes had been in the workshop for weeks undergoing last minute tests, I had new tyres, brakes checked, and there were no more excuses left. So the day arrived and I got ready to go. Shorts, trainers, bike helmet, bike. Gareth got ready to go, cycling shorts with padded inserts, sports t-shirt, bike helmet, cycling gloves, a back pack with a change of clothes, litres of sun block. He proceeded to undress outside the back door and lather himself up with a gallon of sun block, if the sun wasn’t to kill him chemical poison surely would. I was worried! More »

LOIRE VALLEY – I love the Loire …

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A regular blog of life in the Loire Valley by Leggett Agent, Denise Long

I LOVE THE LOIRE ! … There you go in a nutshell, this is one of the most interesting and vibrant places that I have lived, and I am quite the nomad. So, I feel somewhat qualified to try and convey to you my enthusiasm for this location for a full and satisfying life.

A quick synopsis of my life thus far, commenced in Northern Ireland, from there to London, then Leeds, back to Northern Ireland. Seven years later and off again, this time to Lyon in France, after this it was a couple of locations in Scotland, then back to Lyon, over to Poitou-Charente and now Tours in the Touraine.

What I have been looking for is a life where I can enjoy the ‘French way of life’ but still benefit from a life full of experiences and also have opportunities of work. This is quite difficult to find in rural France, and I always felt that there was more to be seen and experience, that I didn’t think existed in a quiet, sleepy backwater. Where I lived in Poitou-Charente was a typical traditional French village, but my children and I have always hankered after somewhere to walk after dark to have a drink in a bar, to go to the cinema on foot, eat in a different restaurant every night. This I have found in Tours, it is full of culture and fun but at the same time with warmth and friendliness that has truly taken me by surprise. There is a fête every weekend and markets and brocantes every day of the week, but I am not here to convince everyone to move to the city, but to the Loire valley as a whole. When the rest of rural France drifts into the winter lethargy and grey weather, the Loire lives on with plenty to do, something to suit everyone. More »

LOIRE VALLEY – Fabulous Fresh Food …

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The weekly markets in most towns in France are the theatre of everyday life, where people take time to stop for a chat and exchange pleasantries whilst smelling the fruit for perfect ripeness, choosing the ultimate cheese to follow lunch, and getting recipe tips from the fishmonger for his catch.  Yes, food is a serious business, and the queues at the best stands speak volumes.

Here in the Loire Valley we are spoilt for choice when the markets set up: fresh river fish, poires et pommes tapées – a local dried fruit speciality, the most amazing selection of goats cheeses, not forgetting the stunning wines of the area.  You’ll also find a great selection of plants, herbs and spices, pottery and tableware in amongst the clothes, soaps and toys…

The markets to head for in the area are Langeais (Sunday), Bourgueil (Tuesday), Chinon (Thursday), Richelieu (Friday) and Saumur (Saturday). Bon appétit !

Charlotte Field.

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